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Tamquam nudus nuces legeret.

Cicero, giving examples of the use of comparison to be witty, quoting a man responding to doubts that money was given to Magius because Magius was so poor, De Oratore 2.66:

“Erras,” inquit, “Scaure; ego enim Magium non conservasse dico, sed tamquam nudus nuces legeret, in ventre abstulisse.”

“Scaurus,” he said, “you are mistaken; I’m not saying Magius saved the money, but, like a naked man would gather nuts, he made off with it filling his belly.”

A literal translation (“he carried it off in his belly”) wouldn’t work as well in English, because English doesn’t have this connection between eating food and squandering money. Perhaps it’s easier with a word for money (pecunia) related to a word for livestock (pecus).

I went with a sort of compromise between keeping the original image and its intent; I’m not sure how well I did. An alternative, though probably inappropriate, would be to resort to a pun—something along the lines of the money going to waist.

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